The Bologna Process
In 1998 ministers of education from four countries met to discuss opportunities to collaborate on European higher education. In Bologna, one year later, the number of countries had increasd to 22 - today 46 countries are included in the partnership.
The European ministers of education have had ministerial meetings in Bologna (1999), Prague (2001), Berlin (2003), Bergen (2005), Leuven / Louvain de la neuve (2009) and London (2010). In communiques, the ministers indicated direction for the collaboration for the next two years. They decided on certain 'action lines' and formed new concepts like 'social dimension', 'quality assurance', 'qualification frameworks', which we today are struggling to define and fill with content. The communiques make for exciting reading since they are relatively specific in terms of what kind of visions they have for higher education, there is no shortage on ideas although measures for implementation may sometimes be lacking.
But what exactly is the Bologna process, beyond communiques? The vision of the Bologna process was to create a European higher education area where there should be free mobility of students and teachers. To achieve this the european countries have agreed on standard implementation of the ECTS credit system, where all countries of the Bologna process agreed to standardize a semester to 30 ECTS credits which we know as credits at home. Furthermore, other standardization systems have been implemented, such as qualification frameworks, quality assurance system etc.
So what have been the consequences for students at the University?
The norwegian "Quality Reform" of 2002 was a direct result of Bologna communiqués. Through the reform, the higher education sector has changed so that it would fit into the new Bologna model, with 3 + 2 + 3 years (Bachelor, Master and Ph.D).
The extensive (some would say obscenly extensive) evaluation apparatus found at UiO is a result of quality evaluation demands required by Bologna. Furthermore, we must relate to NOKUT involved in accreditation of educational institutions (a body which checks that the quality evaluation apparatus at the university works, that deviations are detected and is the organ that says that accredits programs offered at the University).
The UiO Qualification Framework is another result of the Bologna process. The concept is to redefine "learning goals" in each subject, program and throughout the University to "achieved learning". The intention is that one should look at the benefits of a degree rather than inputs. Want to know more? Then check out the links to some relevant websites below.